“Ambition gets stronger…”

I love XTC and I miss them as a band. When I was younger and back when MTV still played music videos, I’d spend weekends at my dad’s house, partially because he had cable, and because y’know, he’s my dad. Saturday nights would involve Kendra and I watching either Reds games or MST3K, then my dad taking over the TV and watching something either of the historical or science fictional nature, and after he went to bed, me staying up late to watch and often tape “120 Minutes”. One of my favorite episodes was when Andy Partridge was a guest. I actually probably still have the VHS tape somewhere, and could watch it if our VCR was hooked up.

I’d been thinking about blogging in general, and how some bloggers manage to make it their full-time job, whereas others don’t. I fully admit, one of the reasons I started blogging about food is because I got sucked into the notion that I could make a bunch of money from it, and get a bunch of free stuff. Ah, boy was I wrong! I thought I’d do a little “myth vs. reality” when it comes to blogging.

  • Money This is probably the biggest myth. Just because you put ads on your blog doesn’t mean people will flock to you and you’ll start rolling in dough. It does help to partner with someone like Foodbuzz (which I once did) or the Foodie Blogroll (where I am now) or BlogHer (I don’t really know much about them). However, I’ve also read that to make the most money, you’re better off selling ad space yourself. I’m not technologically advanced to do that myself, so I partnered with Foodie Blogroll and let them take care of that for me. I don’t make a fortune off my writings (yet)…In fact, the most I’ve made so far was for a sponsored post on Activia Yogurt. And while I would love it if I just made enough to pay for my self-hosting, right now, that’s not the case. I’ve been blogging for over 7 years, but my focus on food has only been for about a year and a half. I have to keep reminding myself that I’m still working on building a following.
  • Freebies I’ll be honest–This is mainly why I switched my focus to food blogging. I had hoped food companies would send me free stuff, like I’d seen with a lot of other food bloggers. However, that didn’t really happen. I was a part of Foodbuzz’s Tastemakers Program, and that was pretty much the only way I got free anything. And even with that, I went for a long stretch of not getting anything (like 6 months), and it got to the point that I had to complain to Foodbuzz about it. I will grant that it’s one thing I do miss about being with Foodbuzz, but I do now have the freedom to solicit companies on my own. It’s just too bad that the majority of them don’t bother to answer my emails!
  • Trips/Sponsored Events A fair number of bloggers (mostly healthy living bloggers it seems) get to travel to blog conferences like BlogHer and Foodbuzz, gratis, or because they make a crap-ton of money from their blogs. As I alluded to earlier, I barely make enough money each month off my blogging drivel to cover the cost of a fast food meal. As such, I won’t be attending any blogging conferences any time soon–Unless I win the lottery or something. I had toyed with the idea of going to the IFBC in Santa Monica this weekend, but logic and responsibility won out, so I’m staying put. Still, it would’ve made a nice birthday present to myself!
  • Popularity It’s not instantaneous. I’m pretty sure that outside of a few other SoDak bloggers and all my friends on Facebook from back home, nobody “knows” who the hell I am. I’m not one to go around announcing I’m a food blogger (most of the time, anyway…I have mentioned it before at restaurants, if an employee catches me taking a photo, and even then, I’m usually embarrassed and self-conscious about it), and I’m awful about handing out my blog business cards. But I suppose that if you’re good about self-promotion and networking, you might get a little more notice for your blog. Also, writing quality rather than churning out simple content helps. It’s all fine and well if you post 8 different pictures of your oatmeal and then later show 4 or 5 pictures of your kale chips and roasted tofu, but without much else in between, it’s doubtful you’ll have much luck in the way of attracting new followers, and you might even lose thoughtful readers. I’m not the greatest blogger out there, and I know I’ve posted my fair share of crap entries, but more often than not, I do try and put in a bit of thought before I hit ‘publish.’ Feel free to dispute if you think otherwise in the comments!

That’s just a few things I’ve noticed about the reality of food blogging, although I presume the same sort of stuff probably applies to bloggers who don’t focus on food. And yeah, a little of it is some jealousy. In my perfect world, I would be a full-time blogger and would actually make money off this. But in the meantime, I need to hone my craft, and since this is a food blog, I should talk about food.

I was going to wait until I got paid again before hitting up the grocery store, but I spent the morning reading through Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, and wanted to go buy out Hy-Vee and spend the entire day in the kitchen. I daresay, I almost wish we weren’t going out for dinner tomorrow night, because I really want to make potato gnocchi, and The Sauce, as it’s recommended for the gnocchi. But I will wait. I also want to make some fresh pasta…It’s probably been a good 15 years since I’ve done that and I have my dad’s pasta maker in my possession (Kendra didn’t want it). I got a few things that will be used fairly soon:

I figured I’d try the Bionaturae tomatoes, because I wasn’t thrilled about the Hy-Vee tomatoes I used the last time. The barley is for some soup.

Mmmm…Pork. I’ll have to go back and check, but I think pancetta is also used in the barley soup. It might be prosciutto, but I think it calls for pancetta.

Cheese. Hy-Vee is now carrying actual imported cheeses, so I could’ve gotten authentic Parmigiano-Reggiano, but a wedge of the same size as the $5 Bel Gioiso I bought was about $15. Same with the Pecorino-Romano. And I’m sure the authentic stuff is even better, but I’m on a budget. And Wisconsin does make good cheese.

I had every intention of making some pork chops, mashed potatoes and gravy for dinner tonight, but we have leftovers, and I’m determined NOT to throw them out this time. I am thinking of going to start dinner now…I skipped breakfast (bad) and haven’t eaten since I made us go through Culver’s drive-thru for a burger because my blood sugar was dropping (also bad). That was around 10:45 this morning, so I’m pretty hungry at the moment.

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